Will It Stay? Chattel vs. Fixture
With flat-panel TVs mounted on walls, and stainless steel appliances strategically used to stage homes, buyers are including more chattels and fixtures in their offers to purchase these days.
(Examples of chattels: fridge, stove, microwave, Fixtures: Built-in dishwasher, exhaust fan, faucet and hardware.)
Is it safe to assume that if a fixture is not listed as an exclusion in the purchase agreement, then it's automatically included with the property? Not always! I’ll give you an example.
My wife and I recently bought an LCD TV and wall mount bracket to hang it on. Let’s say our home was for sale and we accepted an offer. The prospective buyers are very excited about having my TV all ready for them when they move in; they assume it is permanently attached and so comes with the house.
However, while my wall mount is attached to the home, and thus considered a fixture, my TV is attached to hooks that hang from the mounting bracket - making it a chattel.
As such, their realtor should specifically list the TV in the “Chattels Included” section of the offer.
Legal Fight over Chattel
If the buyers move in and see my TV is gone, they’re on the horn with their lawyer and the legal fees for both parties start to rack up quickly.
I'm sure after a lengthy explanation, a few photographs and a lot of added stress, the buyer's would realize that the TV was not included and the deal would close anyway.
As the seller, I'm left with a larger legal bill and an upset buyer. The buyers are left with having to purchase a TV they thought they’d already bought with the house!
The point is: If you want something in your new home, include it. If you're not sure, include it. If there's any doubt, include it.
It may seem odd to put a storage shed, central air conditioning, or even a garage door opener as inclusions - but full disclosure for both parties will ensure everyone knows what stays and what goes.
The end result should be a smooth transaction where both buyer and seller get what they expect.
Ray Petro is a sales representative with CENTURY 21 Professional Group Inc. based in Brantford, ON.
Posted by Ray Petro
on July 31, 2009